Every Friday, we’re answering your questions about business, startups, customer success and more.
In our new Groove Friday Q & A segment, we’re answering any questions that you have about, well, anything.
A huge thank you to Ryan Angilly, James McBryan and Jason Quey for this week’s questions.
Check out this week’s answers below, and jump in with your own thoughts in the comments!
Why doesn’t the Groove blog use WordPress?
This is a question that comes up a lot.
And it’s probably one of those things that’s in the category of “what we would’ve done differently if we started over.”
Years ago, our very first blog was on Tumblr. It was ugly, bare-bones and didn’t get much traffic, but that’s not because of the platform. We simply weren’t doing content marketing right.
But when we did start learning more and getting better, we set out to redesign the blog and move off of Tumblr onto something more flexible.
What we decided at the time was that there’s nothing more flexible than coding the entire blog ourselves, giving us complete control over the design and functionality.
There have been a lot of benefits to that; namely, that everything looks and works exactly as we want it to.
But it’s also a much more resource-intensive approach, requiring developer time on every post and design/layout update.
While the lift of moving everything to WordPress is too big for us to entertain right now (it certainly doesn’t fit within the focus of what we’re trying to do), it’s something I’d urge anyone that’s just starting their blog now to consider heavily.
When should a startup begin to focus on legal issues?
First, a huge caveat: I am not a lawyer, or a legal expert in any way, shape or form.
I can’t give you sound legal advice for your situation. But I can tell you what we did, and what I’d do if I were doing things over again.
There are a few obvious issues that I would consult with a lawyer on right away:
- If you’re going to be compensating people with equity
- If you’re taking on investment
- If you’re getting acquired or merging with another business
- If you get sued
I’m sure there are a few I’m missing, too.
- Corporate formation
- Employee/contractor agreements
Then there’s the issue of IP, which is a bit stickier, as some swear by protecting everything, and others think that software patents are a scourge on our industry.
I tend to fall more on the side of the latter, but even more importantly, I think it’s important to understand that:
- Your idea isn’t that important. Your execution is. And,
- That execution includes things which can’t be copied by anyone, including the brand you build and the customer relationships you develop through the experience you deliver
Still, IP issues aside, not having legal help can be an expensive mistake. As a general rule, the more you have to lose, the more important it is to take care of the legal side of things.
As I prototyped Groove and did early customer development, none of this really mattered. But when I invested a significant amount of my own money into the company, I wanted to make sure that a screwup didn’t cost me dearly.
So take a look at what you have to lose. If it seems really painful to think about it disappearing, then consider hiring a lawyer to protect your hard work and investment.
How do you promote your content?
There’s really no limit to how much you can do to promote your content (the internet is a big, big place, after all). So this is a good question, because it’s important to put some parameters around the “as much as possible.”
For us, our biggest limitation is time; there are only so many hours in a day, and those of us working on marketing can only spend so much time promoting each post.
So we tend to spend around 4-6 hours on promotion for each post, depending on the post.
The key is figuring out the best use of those 4-6 hours to get the biggest return possible.
For us, that boils down to X key tactics:
- Influencer outreach. It’s our oldest and still most effective approach to getting our content shared.
- Dialing in SEO for each post. While this is done before we hit publish, it has a big impact on the reach and spread of the content.
- Sharing to social media and other communities that might find our content interesting.
- Testing and optimizing the emails that we send to readers.
Ultimately, spending disproportionate amounts of time understanding and improving your processes for the first two tactics would be my biggest suggestion.
Executed properly and consistently, I’ve never seen them fail.